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ann arbor motive power: alco RS1s

The Ann Arbor had two Alco RS1 diesel locomotives, built in 12/50 and placed into service in early 1951. Originally ordered with steam generators and intended to take over for the Atlantic-type 4-4-2 steam engines that pulled the Annie's daily passenger trains, the generators were canceled before delivery when the railroad's petition to end passenger service was awarded. Adorned with the Wabash blue/gray scheme, these units soldiered on into DT&I ownership and eventually the Michigan Interstate era as well.  #20 retained the original DT&I block lettering, while #21 received the Ferry-in-Fog scheme. How-to text and photos (low-res) are from my original web site as published back in 1999-2000. 

Disassembly of Atlas Classic RS1: gently and carefully grasp the shell at the front steps and rear steps and wiggle the body slightly until it separates from the frame. Carefully remove the handrails from the cab, then lift the body off the running boards by gently squeezing the center of the shell. If you look underneath you will see four small tabs that hold the body on the running boards - try putting gentle pressure on one side of the body, then the tabs should come free. Lift the black running board treads off the frame. Pop the metal tabs off the back of the coupler housing, slide the black coupler pin out and remove the Rapido couplers. Lift the cab off the shell. Remove all clear plastic lights and windows.

Painting & Reassembly: these models were carefully brush-painted almost 20 years ago when spray painting terrified me. Today I would hit these with Model Master Huggar Orange paint and be done! Decals were SoliDesign, and applied to the body shell and cab prior to reassembly.


Details and Updates: as you see in the top picture, I added roof-mounted air horns per the prototype, and then in 2012 I had DCC installed. These were old Atlas Classic split-frame chassis, so the DCC conversion was a hard-wire job that I farmed out to a fellow modeler who knew what he was doing with a soldering iron. Units are still running strong and looking good on my layout, but it's just a matter of time before Atlas releases these with sound...  

Ann Arbor Pennant logo white flag
Ann Arbor RS1 #21 FIF scheme
undecoreated Atlas RS1
Ann Arbor RS1 parts
Ann Arbor RS1 reassembly
RS1 shell and mechanism
RS1 painting parts
Ann Arbor RS1s 20 and 21
AA Black Pennant Flag logo
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